Monday, February 6, 2017

Slab Blocks for Canada's Big Quilt Bee

Layout of 12 blocks for a small quilt
A small group gathered a week ago to make slab blocks which will be assembled into tops for CQA's project of supplying 1000 quilts for Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada. (See the previous post here to read about the project.) We had a great day and accomplished a good amount of work. (Of course we enjoyed some yummy treats too...) A number of blocks were made and several tops were assembled that day, others will be assembled as more blocks come in. If you didn't have the chance to join us on Jan. 28, you can still take part. Jeanne Kaye has lots of Canada 150 fabrics, just give her a call to pick some up and make a slab block or two to contribute. They really are fun to do, and a great way to use up some  leftover strips or scraps. It's a win-win project! Don't miss out!

Here are a few of the blocks that were made.

And one more quilt laid out, ready for assembly...

Layout of 20 blocks for a larger quilt

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jan. 28th Workday

Further to the discussion at our meeting this week, here's an explanation of what is planned for the January 28th workday. Our primary purpose is to make slab blocks to be assembled into quilts as per the recent request from CQA/ACC (Canadian Quilters' Association.)

The blocks/tops will be sent off to CQA and some will be quilted at Canada's Big Quilt Bee during the annual conference, Quilt Canada, in Toronto in June. Any locally finished quilts will be collected in Moncton. All quilts will be donated to Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada,of which there are 14, with a total of 469 family rooms. These rooms are full all year and there are actually waiting lists for residency while children are treated in hospital. The goal is for 1000 quilts. So that's a brief explanation of the project. Now, back to our work day... 

What is a "slab block?" Cheryl Arkison of Calgary designed the slab block a few years back when the call went out across Canada for quilts for Alberta flood victims. Here's a photo of one of the 2013 flood quilts. 

Now the slab block is being used again for this special Canada 150 project. It is a "free form" block that measures 12.5", to finish at 12" square. As you can see, it is made from scraps of various sizes - squares, rectangles, strips, all of one colour family- sewn together to make a block large enough to be trimmed to 12.5". Whereas the quilt above has one piece of white in each block, for this project each block must contain at least one piece of Canada 150 fabric. Several fabric manufacturers have put out lines of special fabric for Canada 150: Discover Canada by JN Harper, Stonehenge OH CANADA by Northcott and Sesquicentennial fabric by Northcott,  Trend-Tex Fabrics With Glowing Hearts by Moda, and Cantik Batiks. Click on each collection name to see the fabrics. If you have any of these fabrics, please bring them with you to the workday on the 28th. Some will be provided as well. One of our local shops, The Christmas Crab Quiltery at 158 Brunswick St. carries the Oh Canada line by Northcott if you wish to purchase any. Obviously you will need to bring other fabrics for the blocks as well; bring a number of scraps or small pieces in one or several colour families. The blocks can be done as above with all pieces "straight and square" or if a little wonky is more your style, they can be done as these below:

You can read a further explanation, with diagrams, on how the blocks are made here, scroll down to the second and third pages. Or click here to watch a video. 

We hope you'll join us on Saturday Jan. 28th. We're going to have a fun day making slab blocks!! As well, Lee will demo EQ7 software, and if you wish to come and work on a project of your own, that's fine too!   :)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas season and you feel rested and rejuvenated.  We're already halfway through January! Our first meeting of 2017 is just a few days away, hope we'll see YOU there!

A few days ago, an FQG member called me to discuss ideas re. a signature quilt. She has a niece getting married and the couple want a signature quilt at their wedding for all guests to sign. We discussed design ideas, the use of freezer paper to make signing easier, permanent ink pens, etc. Later after doing a little internet search for "signature quilts" I came across an article on permanent ink pens which has some good info and results of testing.  Click here to read it, you might find it useful.

If like me, you dislike the cold temperatures and shorter days of winter, perhaps a look at some quilts will warm you up. Click here to enjoy the warm tones of these "southwestern" quilts.

See you Tuesday night!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Time's Running Out...

Songs of the Season by Patricia Drummond
If you haven't made it to Government House yet to see the Fredericton Fibre Artists Guild show, you only have a few days left. It closes on Tuesday Nov. 29. You MUST go, it is truly a feast for the eyes. There is  a variety of fibre art to enjoy - everything from thread paintings and wall quilts by our own Kathy Tidswell and Barb Perry, to hooking, needlepunch, temari, cross stitch, crewel, canvaswork, and other forms of needlework. Many pieces are original in design.Trust me, it is worth the visit. We have so many talented women in our city! Here is just a sampling of what you'll see.
Speaking of time running out, if you haven't got your ticket for our Christmas Social on Dec. 13, you'd better get in touch with Sandra N or JoAnne C quickly. Deadline for ticket purchase is Dec. 5. Find them at The Christmas Crab Quiltery, 158 Brunswick Street.
Are you  shopping this weekend? Remember to support our two local quilt shops- they both have "Black Friday" sales going on...

My Peaceful Oasis by Kathy Tidswell

Time Marches On by Barb Perry

Sheep May Safely Graze by Elizabeth Bastin

Violet Nosegay by Barbara Carroll

Maple Leaf  Montage by Irene Sealy

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November meeting this week!

The days and weeks are flying by! How can we be in mid November already?! Geesh! There were lots of  N.B. guild shows this fall, I hope you got to a few. There is still a local one to view if you have not already. The Fredericton Fibre Artists have a wonderful show on at Government House until the end of the month, be sure to stop in as it is well worth the visit!
Hallowe'en is past and most of our spectacular fall colour is now on the ground, but if you would like  a "replay" click here and here to see some amazing Hallowe'en and autumn quilts from a variety of U.S. shows.

Lastly here's a link to an article I have now seen several times online, mostly on Facebook. I think it is worth the read for all quilters. It discusses the differences between chain store fabric and quilt shop fabric - YES there really IS a difference. Click here to read the article.

See you Tuesday night at our November meeting! Hopefully there will be lots of Show and Tell after the retreat! Remember to get your ticket for our Christmas Dinner/Social on December 13.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


 How can it be November already?! We have been blessed with a beautiful fall of warm temperatures and glorious foliage! But the leaves are now falling fast and cooler weather is here. Before long we'll be thinking about snow tires and shovels, ice melt and mittens... and Christmas!! Have you started your Christmas sewing yet? I thought you might appreciate having a list of local upcoming craft shows and sales, in case you wanted to do a little shopping... If you know of others which I have missed, please let me know and I'll add them.

Nov. 11-13 Fredericton Christmas Show @ Capital Exhibition Centre
Nov. 17-18 Christmas at the Market Craft Show @ Boyce Farmers Market  Free
Nov. 17-19 Christmas Craft Show @ Brookside Mall
Nov. 18-19 Ten Thousand Village Fair Trade Sale @ Wilmot Church  Free
Nov. 26 NB College of Craft and Design Annual Christmas Craft Show @ NBCCD   Free
Nov. 26-27 Christmas in the Village in Gagetown   Free
Dec. 2-4 Christmas Gift Show @ Capital Exhibition Centre $3.00 admission
Dec. 4 Christmas Choice Craft Sale, Memorial Hall, UNB 12-4pm
Dec. 4, 11, 18 Sunday Christmas Markets @ Boyce Farmers Market  Free

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September Meeting Coming Up!

Hello everyone! There are only a few days now until our first meeting! It will be great to see all our quilting friends again, and maybe we'll see a few new faces as well. We welcome new members! Join us Tuesday evening Sept. 20 for a 7p.m. meeting. Directions are on the sidebar.

Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? What a great reason to celebrate our return to Guild activities! If you haven't done much sewing or quilting over the summer, it's time to get back to your sewing space and get busy! And remember,YOU can help make Show and Tell even better! We want to see your projects!!

I came across this online article written by Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio on their blog
Craft Nectar, a few weeks ago. It's an interesting and eye-opening read and something I hope all members will take the time to read through. There are indeed big changes happening in the quilting industry. Those mentioned are all in the USA, but let's face it, they affect us too. Did you know that the American Quilters Society has stopped publishing books? Quilters' Newsletter, which has been in production since 1969 has published its last print edition with the current October November issue now on newsstands. The City Quilter in Manhattan is closing, as are several other well known American shops.
The article is reprinted below with Weeks' permission, but if you click on the article link above, you can also read the very interesting comments that follow the article.

The past few years have brought tremendous changes to the world of quilting. Shops have closed by scores. Magazines and book publishers have shuttered or merged with other publishers. American Quilter Society has ceased publishing books all together. City Quilter in New York is closing. Tension has arisen at times between genres of quilters who perceive one genre being intolerant to another.
We began teaching modern quilting in 2001. The ages of our students ranged from twenty-somethings to retirees. Even as early as 2001 we noticed that spending patterns were clearly divided by age. Retirees had large stashes and both the time and money to make lots of quilts. Younger quilters had student debt, insecure jobs and looming college and retirement costs that prevented them from spending as much time or money on quilting. If we had a studio sale with fabric deeply discounted, the 50+ crowd would spend hundreds of dollars and the 30-somethings would buy 4 fat quarters. It was a pattern we saw repeatedly. So we never drank the Kool-Aid about modern quilters or young quilters saving our shrinking industry. They can’t afford to. Hiring designers based on the number of Instagram followers instead of talent will not save our industry. Deciding which books to publish based on the age of the author will not save our industry. Belittling other genres of quilting will definitely not save our industry. If you REALLY want to save our industry, here are a few things you can do:
  1. Buy fabric and supplies from an owner whose name you know. Buying quilting fabric from   Massdrop or might not seem like a big deal but for a mom-and-pop retailer every dollar truly matters. If you buy from Massdrop, the designer makes 15-20 cents per yard at best. If you buy directly from the designer, they make $4-6 per yard.
  2. Buy books from authors directly or through local quilt shops. If you buy a book from Amazon to save $4, the author makes $1. If you buy it from the author, the author makes typically half of the cost of the book, usually $10-15. If you buy it from a local quilt shop, the shop owner makes the profit but at least it stays in the industry and they stay in business and buy more books. It’s an enormous difference.
  3. Support ALL types of quilting. If you’re a modern quilter, go to an exhibit of applique quilts at a local guild. Do a shop hop of shops you haven’t been to. Take classes that are outside of your comfort zone. All of this money filters down to support guilds, teachers, shops and designers.
  4. Teach someone to sew or quilt. Help a teenager make a quilt for college or for graduation. Show a boy how to make a messenger bag or a pillow for his room.
  5. Understand the laws of supply and demand. With fewer shops in business and fewer quilters, the cost of fabric has and will increase. No one is taking advantage of you or ripping you off. It’s just the economics of each yard costing more because fewer yards are being produced. Ditto for the cost of magazines, especially with magazines like ours that has no ads.
  6. Don’t expect everything for free. Unless you want quilting to go the way of tatting, with very few people able to make a living teaching or designing, don’t photocopy patterns for your friends and don’t limit what you can learn to YouTube. I understand that each of us only has so much money and it’s tempting to want to give away your favorite patterns with your guild friends, but if you don’t support shops, publishers, designers and the like, those people will have to find other ways to make a living. The closed shops, the shuttered publishers and those who have left the industry for greener pastures or as a result of closures are proof that it has become harder than it was 20 years ago to make a living in the quilting industry. Most importantly, can we just band together to support all quilters? And when I say support, I mean financially as well as sharing with others the work you find inspiring be it at a guild meeting or through social media. Can we decide that each quilt is made by someone who loves quilting as much as you do? If you don’t like the way quilt competitions are structured, suggest a new category. If you want more books on a certain topic, email the publisher. If you want more magazine coverage of a certain trend, let the editors know. If you want a certain fabric your local shop doesn’t carry, ask if they would be willing to order it. We are fortunate right now to have more work than we can manage. However, watching businesses related to quilting close affects all of us. Please share in the comments section anything you can think of to support the quilting world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Volunteer Opportunity

September is just hours away now, and with it for most of us a return to more routine in our lives. And of course a return to guild meetings. Yippee! Whether or not you've taken a break from sewing and quilting this summer, it's time to get back in the swing of things! Do you have some fall or Christmas projects on your To Do list?
Maybe you would like to try something new this fall. Katie Noonan, the Office Administrator with Central Valley Adult Learning Association is looking for volunteers to lead some quilting classes for seniors in the greater Fredericton area (Fredericton, Oromocto, Stanley, Minto, Chipman and Gagetown.) She is keen to set this up and get it underway so if you are interested you can reach her at or at 357-7892. She would love to hear from you!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Did You Know?

Just a few DYK's for you today...

Did you know that the measuring tape you have in your sewing space is most likely 5/8" wide? Our seam allowance in quilt-making is almost always 1/4", but if you do any garment-making, the seam allowance is usually 5/8". So measure the width of your tape measure, it may very well be a handy guide for you! ~ Info passed on by Kathy Feltmate, from Colette Patterns. Thanks Kathy!  (** I checked mine and it's 3/4"... just sayin'....)

Have you ever wondered where the tomato pincushion came from? In the early Middle Ages metal pins were costly and much harder to come by than they are today. They were often stored in special pin/needle cases  made from ivory, bone, silver or other metals. In the early 1700's pin-pillows came into use- the pincushion predecessor! They were made from beautiful fine fabrics and were often embroidered. Soon they were mounted on bases of silver, china or wood and used more as a home decor item. By the early 1900's pincushions were commonly used as a useful sewing aid.
Did you know that during Victorian times, when a family moved into a new home, it was common to place a fresh tomato on the mantle to ward off evil spirits, thereby bringing prosperity to the family? Since tomatoes were only available in summer, and didn't last long, they were often made from fabric instead, stuffed with sand or sawdust and made to look realistic with veins and leaves. It's easy to picture the busy lady of the house stabbing a few stray pins into the tomato, until she could put them back in their proper place with her sewing supplies....  ~ Info from Threads magazine

Have you ever made an Irish Chain quilt? Or have you ever wondered where the name came from? Did you know that the Irish began immigrating to North America in large numbers in the mid-1800's? When the American Civil War began, the Irish formed their own brigades with approximately 140,000 Irish soldiers fighting for the union. The Irish used a tool called an Irish Chain (Gunter's chain or surveying chain) as a measuring device for land surveying; it was made up of linked sections that fit together to form a single chain. Replace those links with squares and you have an Irish Chain quilt! ~ info from Fons and Porter